RCPCH responds to Auditor General for Wales’ report on poverty

Audit Wales has published ‘Time for Change’ – Poverty in Wales, the first of three reviews on the challenge of alleviating and tackling poverty.
Wales flag - red dragon on green and white background

The report finds that: 

  • The impact of poverty is far reaching and increasingly more difficult for people to deal with. People in all parts of Wales continue to live in poverty and the number is estimated to be rising, with the cost-of-living crisis pushing more people into poverty.
  • The report argues that existing strategy to tackle poverty in Wales is out of date and lacks meaningful targets; and that while the Welsh Government, councils and others have prioritised work on poverty, “the mix of approaches and a complicated delivery landscape mean that ambitions, focus, actions and prioritisation vary widely”. 
  • It concludes that there needs to be a refreshed strategy with SMART targets and regular evaluation. 
  • This comes just two weeks after over 100 paediatricians in Wales signed an open letter to the First Minister calling for a new national strategy to tackle child poverty and the resulting health inequalities. 

Dr David Tuthill, Officer for Wales at the RCPCH said:

It is shocking to think that across the UK approximately four million children are living in poverty – and that Wales now has the worst child poverty rate of all the UK nations at 31%. As paediatricians, we see the negative health outcomes and child health inequalities associated with poverty, such as poor nutrition, respiratory issues and even higher rates of mortality. 

Yet none of this is inevitable. Health inequalities are the result of unfair and systematic differences in the social determinants of health between different groups of babies, children, and young people. The Auditor General for Wales’ report today makes a number of important recommendations for alleviating and mitigating poverty, which is what drives child health inequalities. 

We support the Auditor General’s call for the Welsh Government to revise its child poverty strategy and set new targets. In fact, over a hundred of our members in Wales wrote to the First Minister just two weeks ago to ask him to do exactly this. 

We cannot ignore the long-term damage being inflicted on children, young people and their families through poverty and inequality. Urgent action is needed.